practical affairs (note that exception!) are the worst of politicians.’
He has especially in mind historians, and makes the point, which is worth noticing, that they are a little apt to confound the dead and the living.
‘Look at Freeman
; he digs into forgotten records and finds that the ancestors of some people oppressed the ancestors of another, four hundred years ago; upon which he forthwith exhorts their descendants, living in peace and amity, to hate each other now. Another is more moderate: he only unearths the misgovernment of a hundred years ago as a present motive for mutual detestation.’
In this country, I should say, this last tendency prevails most with those who are not historians, but politicians.
A more substantial drawback is the absorbing preoccupation of both the literary and the practical life; and the fact that there are only twenty-four hours in every day. Hamerton
speaks of a Greek philosopher, who was suspected by the business men of incapacity for affairs, but who devoted a year to proving the contrary and traded with such skill that he went back to his studies a capitalist.
The practical man is